By John Honell, correspondent
It would have been easy for Northview High School to look past struggling Nogales, knowing its next game would be the Valle Vista League football championship.
The Vikings (7-2, 5-0) instead just took care of business Thursday in beating the Nobles (1-8, 1-4) 41-6 at Covina District Field.
The Vikings will travel to San Dimas next Friday with the winner getting the championship trophy.
The Vikings’ last winning season was 2008, when they beat the Saints for the league title.
“It’s been a while since we’ve been in this position,” Vikings coach Marcel Perez said. “But we’ve been working for it and we got all of our kids in the game on senior night. It’s good to give them a chance to see what it feels like in front of our home crowd.”
The Vikings scored on their first four possessions and and never were in trouble in coasting to the win.
Javon Taylor, the leading rusher in the CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division, had another big game as he carried the ball 14 times for 101 yards and three touchdowns. He also caught two passes for 50 yards and another score.
“The kid’s nails,” Perez said of Taylor. “He works hard, is one of our team leaders, he comes ready to work and is all business so it’s a real pleasure to have him.”
The Vikings’ offensive line of Mitch Boling, Carl Gregorio, Joseph Tirado, Josh Alonzo and Roger Padilla-Mendez dominated the line of scrimmage and allowed Taylor to run free, even when the defense knew he was coming.
“They have put in a lot of hard work,” Taylor said. “A lot of them are juniors and have put in the work for young players and that has helped make us successful. I guess I’ll have to buy them In-N-Out burgers if we win next week.”
The Vikings gave the ball to Taylor on their first eight plays from scrimmage. He capped drives of 52 and 56 yards with runs of 8 and 6 yards for a 14-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Vikings’ defense came up with three turnovers, an interception by Daniel Valencia and fumble recoveries by Kristian Lopez and Max Flores for good field position on each possession.
Lopez recovered on the first play from scrimmage following the Vikings’ third touchdown. Taylor scored three plays later on a 31-yard pass from Victor Garcia to make the score 27-0.
The longest scoring drive of the night for the Vikings was 56 yards. They took a 34-0 lead at halftime.
“We’ve played really good defense all year,” Perez said. “That’s what we’re going to continue to do.”
The Nobles knew it was going to be a long night before the opening kickoff.
They were missing their leading rusher and passer, Gabriel Ayala, who went down on the second series of last week’s game.
“We knew it was going to be tough with the amount of injuries we had sustained coming into tonight,” Nobles coach Sebastian Hernandez said. “Northview has a heck of team over there and they are going to give San Dimas a battle next week. But I’m proud of how our kids fought and the effort they gave tonight.”
The Nobles scored on the final play of the game on a 16-yard pass from Matt Arellano to wide receiver Terrance Manderville to ruin the Vikings’ bid for a second consecutive shutout.
Manderville also carried the ball 12 times for 67 yards to lead the Nobles.
Taylor has not been on a winning team during his career, but the Vikings have been one of the surprises in the Valley this year with their 8-2 record.
“We’ve never been in this position before,” Taylor said. “It’s all new to our team, so next week is really big for us. This year we’ve been working as one. Last year we didn’t, but this year we’ve come together as one.”
The Vikings got scoring runs from Lopez and Joe Sanchez as they took a 41-0 lead early in the third quarter. The teams played with a running clock from that point as both coaches cleared their benches.